Monday, August 22, 2005

Closing time!

I feel like I don't know how to write anymore. All sorts of food-related thoughts are swimming in my brain, and I can't trouble myself to articulate them yet. It's temporary. Here's a list of other stuff, for now:

The Good: I painted the bathroom! Now the peeling paint no longer makes it look like the walls are growing barnacles.

The Bad: I farked up my shoulder from holding the paint roller in too many awkward positions. Since I've been doing weight training at the gym, this surprises me. I shouldn't cripple so easily.

The Ugly: The aforementioned walls, before painting. I wish I had taken pictures - they were worthy of a documentary on sea life. Yuck!

The Good: We're going to the cottage tomorrow!

The Bad. We're closing the cottage tomorrow. This means a) no more cottage until next year, and b) I have to try and put shutters up with my farkified shoulder. Wah.

The Ugly: The water levels. So many weeds.

Here's why: About ten years ago, some rich-bitch inconsiderate arses who own entire islands out on Georgian Bay, and go down our river to get to their cottages, decided that our river should be dredged. This would deepen the channel and enable their speedboats to speed even faster past our sleepy little docks with tiny rowboats, to say nothing of the children swimming happily off those sleepy little docks.

My mother complained loudly, alienating more than one member of the Harbour Association, of which both islanders and river people were members. Mom said to the islanders, "So, essentially, you want our river to be your highway." They replied, "Yes. Exactly."


At the meeting where the dredging would be voted on, several river dwellers voiced their disapproval by boycotting. Sadly, this meant that the vote passed. The river was dredged, and the folks who did it didn't cart the stuff away as promised. Instead, they dumped it along the banks of the river. So now, with record-low water level in the Bay and connecting rivers, the shallow river edge is shallower, weed-choked, and unnavigable. I can't even row along the shore like I did when I was young.

Stupid mean rich cottagers. Bah.

Oh well, at least I have a cottage. I'll miss the river so much, even more now that I've decided to keep the cottage on the rock. I get a little chokey every year when we leave for the last time each summer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More local food joy

August is just the best. Local cauliflower, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and celery, plus loads of others I'm sure, are abundant in markets right now. Plums and pears soon will be. So tonight I made splendid cauliflower curry, using a half of a huge head of Ontario cauliflower, based on a tasty recipe from a friend and fellow local blogger that I have used for some time now. I did wilt some spinach leaves into it near the end, and tossed in some chickpeas as well. The tomatoes came from my own balcony, and they are just delicious. Small, but juicy and perfectly ripe. I normally skip raw tomatoes, but these are too damn good. Coriander seeds from my balcony garden as well, and I'm cruisin'.

There's a thriving basil plant out there as well, and I lack great ideas for it. It's the happiest basil I have ever seen - it seems a shame to eat it. I guess I'll make pesto, unless any of you have a better suggestion that's dead easy.

Ottawa has some fine restaurants, which I enjoyed greatly while I was there. A notable, but pricey, choice was The Urban Pear in the Glebe. I chose them out of the touristy guide in my hotel room, as their ad touted local, seasonal fare, but I hadn't predicted the priciness, alas. So rather than sink my budget with an entree, I made a perfectly tasty meal of two appetizers: the local cauliflower soup - really a bisque of sorts -

- and some brie in phyllo pastry with strawberries and summer squash.

The ever-diminishing glass of wine in the photos is an award-winning 2003 Chardonnay from the Niagara College Teaching Winery, whose delicious prizewinning wines led me to sample this, and I loved it.

So, though my response to the Local Food Challenge is haphazard at best, I'm having a swell time showing off our local goodness!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

August corn!

Our lunch today included local corn from the Parry Sound Farmer's Market. We had bought it on Wednesday to eat at the cottage, but we forgot butter, like big fools, so the corn came home with us. Though not as fresh as it would have been last week, it was still incredibly flavourful, much more so than out-of-season corn ever is. Add that to grilled burgers, and violas! the perfect summer meal.

Yes, violas. Our other stop this week was an old friend's wedding near Montreal. I played in an arrangement of "What a Wonderful World" for flute, oboe, bassoon and viola. I'm still drinking away the memory.

Once the August local fare project is over, I will begin some vague attempt at a low-carb diet. Just not until Ontario plums, pears, corn and other good things have left the shelves!

The cat has curled her tail around the screen of my laptop. It is too cute.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Local fare, away from home.

I'm back from Ottawa, about long enough to fart before we go back up to the cottage. Can I even begin to express how damn lucky I am to own land up north? And it will always be there for me. There will always be a river for me to dangle my feet in, albeit with dramatically low water levels at times.

I'm "land-poor". It's all inherited, we don't have any real money. I am grateful for it daily.

My lame attempt to meet the Local Food Challenge that many bloggers are taking on this August is going well in theory. While in Ottawa, I bought luscious were blueberries at the ByWard market. They were local to the area near my cottage, and even though I bought them in Ottawa, that's good enough for me. I pay taxes for that blueberry-filled part of the map, dontcha know.

Fresh wild berries grow abundantly behind my cottage, and I gorged myself there last month. These berries at the market were every bit as good, and a bargain - I know how long it takes to pick the little suckers. No cultivated blueberries taste as wonderful as the wild ones I know, and you can just pop them into your mouth with no fear of ingesting anything nasty. Chemical, I mean. I did have to spit out a small slug once.

Back to local gastronomic joy in the nation's capital: I also dined at the Urban Pear in the Glebe, and Domus in the market area. Both specialize in local, seasonal cuisine. I took pictures, and will post them as soon as the cable that connects my camera to the computer materializes. I think the cats ate it.

Yeah, the music (the reason I was working there) was good too, and the vocal soloists extraordinary. I don't name names - my stats are revealing my first search-engine related visits to the site, reminding me that this blogging jazz is quite public indeed. I don't know if I can handle it, to be honest!

Dinner tonight was a red pepper and potato frittata, at least with local eggs, from Jenni Fleetwood's The Ultimate 30 Minute Cookbook. I am still fantasizing about it. My diet has not been a success to this point - I've gained back nearly all I have lost, and don't know why. The frittata won't help; I can't stop eating it.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Still here, for now

August, eh? I know the summer is only half over, but once I reach August, it feels to me like the summer is toast. I do remember the summer seeming to last forever when I was young. As an adult, I have the entire summer sliced, diced, sorted and allotted, in my mind anyway, way back in June.

Not a bad summer, though. Summer is a frightening time for the musician; so little work, but so many more expenses if you want to get away and do anything summery like people insist on doing. I had worried I'd be broke, but two music festivals and a CBC research/editing gig have almost taken care of it. Almost. We're a little tight, still, and will have to watch our pennies for several months.

Beyond the slicing and dicing of summer, there's the worrying. In truth, there is not a damn thing to worry about, but I keep forgetting that, and wander about with a tense tummy all day. Where's the off switch? What would convince me?

No, no, no...this is to be a happy summer post. Breathe. Work. Play. That's all I have to do. If I quit worrying, I might even discover that I have time to do those things.